I really dislike having to use my tumble dryer (It just burns so much energy) but with all the wet weather we have been having , I have had no choice but to revert to my tumble dryer to dry all our clothes. Luckily as I have reduced the amount of clothes everyone wears in our house the dryer only needs to go on once a week. But still its once a week, I would prefer did not happen!
I don’t use dryer sheets or softeners as soap nuts naturally soften our clothes but I was wondering if there was anything else I could use that was gentle to the environment and my tumble dryer. But as time has gone on I put the whole, what else can I do thing to the back of my head until I was having a window shopping moment on Etsy. When I came across some felted wool dryer ball. Now I knew you could buy dryer balls but had never really looked into it as the ones I had seen were made of plastic but these just looked like balls of wool and I have a basket full of odd bits of wool so I wondered could I make some for free instead of buying the ones on Etsy that were pretty expensive for what they are.
The answer yes I can! After looking around Pinterest I found a really easy, practically free (if you already have the wool) way of making them and as a bonus I could make them while I wash and dry our weeks worth of laundry; Yipe.
So how do these dryer balls work?
- Well as the dryer moves the balls bounce around inside separating your laundry, as the bounce enables hot air to circulate through your laundry.
- As your dryer balls bounce around and rub up against your clothes they plump up your clothes which helps to reduce your clothes being wrinkled when they come out of the dryer. (Great bonus because then there is less ironing.)
- If you like your clothes to smell of a certain scent when they pop out of your dryer you can add a couple drop of essential oil on your balls before adding them to the dryer.
- The biggest best bit is they reduce the drying time down by half, (yea reducing the energy my dryer is using to dry our washing) they do this by drawing the moisture out of your clothes as your dryer bounces them around.
- Oh and did I mention you can use them over and over and over and over again saving you massive amounts of money on softeners and dryer sheets. (Which in fact are harmful to the environment so using these dryer balls you are also protecting the environment from a few more nasty chemicals, win, win.)
The following instructions are from DIY Natural (If you would prefer to follow instructions with pictures they have some great pictures on how to make your own dryer balls.
Please note you need to use the right kind of wool to make your drying balls or else your ball will not felt up and just come undone in your wash. You need to use 100% wool yarn, which if you don’t have already nearly all good wool shops or hobbies shops sell 100% wool yarn. You could keep an eye out in your local charity shop to see if they have any as most charity shops stock wool or unravel a wool jumper and whined it back up into a ball, that way you will save money too.
You Will Need:
- 100% wool yarn
- Old pair of tights that you can’t wear any more because that dreaded ladder effected that has been created.
- Crochet hook or if you don’t have one of those a blunt-tipped knitting needle will also do the job.
- Some thread to secure the wool balls in your tights
- Begin wrapping your wool yarn around your first two fingers about 10 times.
- Pinch the bundle of yarn in the middle and pull off your fingers and then wrap more yarn around the middle of this bundle.
- Wrap yarn around the entire bundle until you have the beginnings of a ball.
- Continue wrapping tightly until your ball is around a tennis ball size.
- Use your crochet hook or blunt-tipped knitting needle to tuck the end of the thread under several layers of yarn, pull it through and cut the end.
- Then repeat these steps with more yarn until you have 4-6 balls or more if you desire.
- Cut the leg off an old pair of tights, put your balls into the toe of the tights, tying tightly in between each one with some cotton and tie off the end so your tight leg ends up looking like a caterpillar.
- Place you (caterpillar) wool balls into the wash with your jeans or towels. (Please note make sure there is nothing delicate in the washing machine.)
- Wash in a hot wash cycle with a cold water rinse cycle and then dry your yarn (caterpillar) wool balls with your laundry using the hottest dryer setting.
- Once you balls are dry take them out of your tights and check for felting. To check for felting gently try and pull the strands of wool away from each other and if they don’t separate away from each other your ball is felted. ( If they are not felted, as some makes of wool take more than one wash to felt, pop them back in your tights and the next time you put a wash on add your (caterpillar) wool balls to you wash. Please note sometimes it can take up to 3 washes for your balls to felt.
Happy tumble drying while saving money and electricity!
Have you ever tried drying ball before and how did you get on? Have you ever made your own dryer balls and do you have some great tips we can use while drying our washing with them?